Identifying Familiar Stresses and Easing the Strain
Small business owners face a variety of stressors that can have a serious impact on their mental and physical wellbeing. It is essential for small business owners to identify these pain points, while being aware of signs of burnout, so they can take action to manage stress or seek professional resources to help avoid reaching a breaking point.
Small business owners are entrepreneurs who have chosen to create their own businesses and take on associated risks and rewards. They are both the visionary and the doer, coming up with great ideas that can benefit their community while also putting in the hard work to make those ideas come to life. Small business owners often face many challenges, such as limited resources, competition with larger businesses and difficulty getting funding or loans. Despite these obstacles, they remain resilient and determined to follow their dreams of owning a successful business.
Running a small business is no easy feat and often comes with significant stress and strain. From managing day-to-day operations of the company to constantly looking for ways to generate more revenue, small business owners are under a lot of pressure. There is also the added weight of making sure they comply with relevant laws and regulations while trying to get their business noticed in a crowded market. The financial burden of running a business can become overwhelming at times, leading to fatigue and burnout. Other common sources of stress include:
- Taking on too much work. Working long hours with limited resources.
- Worrying about cashflow shortages.
- Feeling overwhelmed by decisions that need to be made.
- Experiencing isolation from the lack of face-to-face interaction and support from colleagues or mentors.
Delegate Whenever Possible
Delegation can help small business owners focus on core activities that support the goals of their business, such as marketing or strategic planning. By offloading simple but important tasks— like bookkeeping, customer service and data entry— business owners can have more time to work on the more rewarding projects, like developing new products and services. Delegating also allows them to take more time for themselves, socialize more and establish hobbies. This can help life feel more normal and significantly lower stress.
Use Your Support System
For small business owners, building relationships with peers can provide support and a sense of purpose during challenging times. To expand your support system, attend networking events, join online groups or organize meetups to connect with other entrepreneurs. Being more social with friends and family can also provide emotional support, which allows small business owners to take a break from the pressures of running their businesses.
Be Open to Change
Not only is this just a good business practice in general, but it is also beneficial when it comes to limiting stress. Technology is a prime example of why all small business owners should be open to change. If there is new software or a piece of equipment that would allow them to automate part of their business, they should always be open to it. It could be the tool needed to save them hours of time that would have otherwise been spent on stressful activities. Though these tools often come with a significant expense— especially on the limited budget of a small business— the time and soft costs saved often outweigh the investment within a short time.
Exercise is one of the best ways to reduce stress, as it releases endorphins in the brain that can help boost mood and energy. It also helps increase blood flow throughout the body, bringing more oxygen to the brain and helping clear away toxins. Regular exercise can also encourage better sleep habits and a healthier diet, both of which play an important role in managing stress. Combined with relaxation techniques, like meditation or deep breathing, exercising regularly can help people lead a calmer and more balanced life. Exercise provides time away from the daily grind of work and other responsibilities, allowing you to reset mentally and emotionally before tackling the workday.
In cases where stress starts to have an overwhelming impact on a small business owner’s mental health, it is vital to seek professional help from a doctor or therapist. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques can be particularly helpful in identifying negative thought patterns that contribute to feelings of hopelessness, and it can help develop strategies for coping with the pressure of running a business.
Small business owners are not alone in dealing with stress, and it is essential to recognize when they need help in order to prevent burnout. With the proper support and strategies, small business owners can successfully identify everyday stressors and take steps to ease the strain.